(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – In the land of the deep freeze the Montana State women’s basketball team shot an icy 27 percent in the opening twenty minutes and couldn’t overcome a 17-point halftime deficit as North Dakota posted its first Big Sky win of the season with a 79-70 victory over the Bobcats on Sunday in the Betty Engelstad Center.
Montana State (8-7, 2-2) found itself down seven early in the game, but a 7-0 run sparked by back-to-back three-pointers via Hannah Caudill and Oliana Squires, followed by a layup by Rebekah Hatchard gave MSU a 10-9 advantage at the 5:33 mark. The Bobcats then missed on its next four shots- all from 3-point range- as North Dakota (8-7, 1-3) built a 22-12 first quarter lead.
The Bobcats went four-of-16 from the floor in the second period and the Fighting Hawks entered intermission with a 39-22 cushion.
Montana State was able to cut into the North Dakota lead in the third quarter, and trailed by 11-points heading into the final frame after shooting 47 percent from the field.
The Bobcats continued to warm-up in the last ten minutes and closed the gap to 74-68 with 31-seconds left on a Squires triple. UND finished out the final stretch converting five of six free throws to secure the win. MSU shot 55 percent from the field and 57 percent from long distance in the final quarter.
“We put ourselves in a huge hole on the glass and at the foul line,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford.
North Dakota out-rebounded the Bobcats 46-30 and held a commanding 23-of-29 to 8-of-9 advantage at the charity stripe.
“We had great fight in the third quarter for the second time on the road trip,” Binford continued. “We need to find a way to start off with that fight.”
Caudill matched a career-high 24 points to guide the Cats. Also in double-figures were Hatchard with a career-high 17 points and Squires with 10. Madeline Smith paced MSU under the glass with seven rebounds.